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09 November 2011


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William R. Cumming

Watching Japan (modern Japan) suffer through its second nuclear holocaust is no fun. Watching the sumptous scenery of the Last Samurai was fun. Also like the capturing in RAN and other Kuroshawa movies. But hey for pre-WWII Japan prefer all those comely Chinese actresses in something like the "Last Geisha"! The MEJI [sic} restoration has largely been a disaster for the Japanese people IMO!

And flatly predict that Japan in its weakened status will end its post WWII relationship with the USA. And by the way Japan has quite a lot of plutonium. And rockets.

And now even in Tokyo they are monitoring the food for radiation.

Watching a great people commit SEPEKU is not fun. Neither is watching the Japanese do so.


Eagerly awaiting the review of Sam Fuller's The Big Red One.

William R. Cumming

And Alan do you have a favorite Jeanne d'Arc?


"That's why God gave you two." One tough cookie.


Alan, package received. Return cargo in route. Thanks, hope it keeps the ink flowing.


The Twisted Genius

Terrific review. I liked the movie, too. There are scenes that I can watch over and over and still enjoy them. I also liked the old miniseries version of "Shogun." Pilot Major Blackthorne... that's one of the coolest name-rank combinations I've ever heard. The cultural issues (if that's what you call boiling a captured sailor) are handled in a less fawning fashion in "Shogun." I guess we have James Clavell to thank for that.


"Why it is you hate your own people so?"

When I was an adolescent (have I really ever left that period behind with my constant ogling of young nubile wenches?), I was very much like that old dude from Crete. --

Κρῆτες, ἀεὶ ψευδεῖς, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί.

"The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!"


Contempt bred from (over-)familiarity.


Brig. Farrell, sir,

Only Hollywood could pull this one off with (MOST!) excellent(!) movie soundtrack.

Imagine the French trying to re-enact the past.

(The protagonist was one of them frogs, as I mentioned in one of the Col.'s posts).

Medicine Man

I also liked The Last Samurai. In fact, this one is in my collection. Once again, I pretty much agree with your take on the flaws in this film. The film has a certain subterranean vein of moralizing in it, wherein the samurai are romanticized and westerners are rounded up to being morally suspect. This aspect of the film I suspect is a feature of the type of story being told, a pretty shopworn Hollywood yarn when you get down to it. As you point out, the plot is quite similar to Dances with Wolves (or if you want to get your sci-fi on, Avatar).

That said, I didn't find any of these things ruined the movie for me. The stagecraft was good, the scenery excellent, and the acting more than adequate. I'm a sucker for a dramatic last stand and Last Samurai has one of those. It also has a pretty good ninja's vs samurai medieval combat scene that I think I could watch repeatedly.

Another fine review, Mr. Farrell.



"Imagine the French trying to re-enact the past"

I saw a French movie version of Napoleon's return from Elba, only no one was there to meet him! Charming film about his taking over one of the arrodonsements in Paris. Very entertaining. (wish I could remember the title).


I never believed in Cruise for a minute as a battle tested soldier who’s spent years drinking himself insensible to deaden the pain – with his Cover Girl complexion and unlined face, he’s just too pampered to make you believe that he’s been through any kind of hell. It’s like watching Johnny Depp as Dillinger. (Cruise’s acting per se isn’t bad, though.) And the movie’s view of Katsumoto’s fanatical Emperor-worship glorifies exactly the kind of mentality that brought Japan to disaster a century or so down the pike. But the movie is beautiful to look at and I especially liked the first fight, when the samurai materialize out of the forest mists like a nightmarish medieval vision in front of Cruise’s terrified peasant recruits. It wasn’t Kurosawa but it was pretty good.

Also note that director Edward Zwick plagiarized himself – the scene where Cruise demonstrates the unreadiness of his men for fighting by having one man shoot and reload while Cruise fires away next to his ears to rattle him is just like a scene in “Glory” where Matthew Broderick pulled the same number on poor Jihmi Kennedy.



I seem to have unwittingly belittled our friends on the other side of the Atlantic (awkward, yours truly being a francophile & all).

Could you recommend any other films directed by Frenchmen (Luc Besson didn't make any historical flicks, or did he?)

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